Source: Thought Catalog

Facebook users from the United Kingdom will have their user agreements shifted from Irish to the corporate headquarters in California according to a report by Reuters. This  means that users from the U.K. will no longer be protected by the European Privacy laws, a measure Facebook aims to undertake to bypass those very laws.

Following the trend that was initiated Google back in February, Facebook too will now be able to change the privacy policy of the U.K. users, thanks to Brexit. The incident will allow Facebook to force users in the UK (since the country is no longer a part of the Union) to move out of their relationship with its unit in Ireland, which is still in the EU. Instead, they will be asked to come into agreements with its California unit, which has significantly less stringent data laws.

Furthermore, to make things easier for the companies looking to take advantage of Brexit, the UK has a bilateral cross-border data flow agreement with the US, as part of the US Cloud Act.

A company spokesperson reportedly said that users would be intimated of the shift in the next six months. They would be given the option to either abide by the new laws or stop using Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which, for the lack of a better word, is not really an option at all.

This move by Facebook has caused great concern for the privacy advocates. The weaker data privacy regime is made worse as the UK pursues a trade deal with the United States, which proposes far fewer protections.

“The bigger the company, the more personal data they hold, the more they are likely to be subject to surveillance duties or requirements to hand over data to the U.S. government.” Jim Killock, executive director of Open Rights Group said to Reuters

Consequently, the UK has considered passing legislation to regulate online platforms. Earlier this week, the Online Safety Bill came into force that recommends heavy penalties on illegal or harmful content. The UK government also announced that it will be setting up Digital Markets Unit (DMU) by next year to investigate antitrust concerns of Big Tech companies like Facebook and Google.